Jubilee reign of terror against the Supreme Court and the electoral commission must be stopped, says Odinga
NASA leader Raila odinga in his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Overcoming Kenya’s political crisis and advancing Democracy, Rule of Law and Stability has said that for Kenya to attain a democratic, secure and stable future, the Jubilee regime must be stopped from intimidating independent institutions directly mandated to run elections and those mandated to determine electoral disputes resulting from an election.
‘Let me be blunt. Kenya is hurtling towards outright dictatorship. The Jubilee government has ridden roughshod over or looted every institution that they could in order to achieve their goal of long-term control of the state, or at least till their self-declared goal of ruling till at least 2032. The regime has targeted and inflicted particularly severe damage on the two institutions that are central to the preservation of democracy and peace through the delivery of free, fair and credible elections – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Supreme Court of Kenya. These two critical institutions have been targeted through nothing less than a reign of terror,’
said Odinga in his speech.
He added that he electoral commission was comprehensively undermined before the August election and that the assault on the Supreme Court began after the courageous Chief Justice David Maraga and his fellow Justices astounded Kenyans and the world by annulling the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta for pervasive “irregularities and illegalities.”
The NASA leader mentioned that among the other great setbacks for Kenya in the current crisis has been the disappointing role of partners in the decisive struggle for multi democracy in the early 1990s.
‘Kenya matters. Or at least it did then. In this crisis, though, the US and other pro-democracy friends chose to avert their gaze from the unfolding electoral lawlessness, and continued against all the evidence to support a deeply tainted electoral process. To give the most recent example, Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati courageously confessed that his electoral commission was riven by politically-motivated pressures and that he could not guarantee a free and fair election in the 26 October re-run. But in a stand that astounded Kenyans, western envoys two days later announced that they believed the commission could hold a credible poll and supported that highly controversial election. It was an utterly bizarre sight,’
Odinga however said he is convinced all is not lost yet. He added that all Kenyans are asking is a fresh, credible election. This nearly universal stance has vindicated NASA’s position that a credible election is the only option Kenya has to give peace a chance, and even more important, heal a nation that has been torn into angry bits. However, he added, holding such an election needs a radically changed, non-confrontational environment in which the two sides can campaign on the basis of what they offer Kenyans for a better future.
‘I have come to Washington to convey a simple message we need a much fuller engagement from the many arms of governance that your country possesses to assist the envoys based in Nairobi. The envoys’ efforts up to now have not succeeded in defusing the crisis, but let me be blunt again, they have sometimes contributed to the problem. Despite the grave challenges, I see glimmers of hope from the events of the past few days. Kenyans were very pleased that the US and other friends refused to congratulate Mr. Kenyatta after the electoral commission announced that he had been elected President –- after an election more woefully tainted than the annulled August one,’
He said, what he calls the reign of terror against the Supreme Court and the electoral commission began with the torture and murder of Chris Msando, the Commission’s Chief of Technology responsible for the integrity of the entire voting system one week before the 8th August election. He had received death threats and sought protection from the police, in vain.
‘Kenyans know that the decades-long struggle for justice and our grand new Constitutional order was waged and won peacefully. That is why NASA’s leadership is centered on a campaign of peaceful resistance to unlawfully constituted authority. We have convened a People’s Assembly to guide the country to a fresh, free and fair presidential election, as decreed by the Supreme Court. That record of anti-democratic criminal behavior, which has included systematic measures limiting civil society and media protections, has made many wonder how our long-standing democratic partners have not publicly spoken up against these depredations. Most of us worry that this is a result of international policies that exclusively focus on security and stability, and that the envoys in Nairobi believe only President Kenyatta can deliver this with his own force- and security-first agenda. But when that agenda is accompanied by a government’s increasing authoritarianism and plans to stay permanently in power, Kenya’s historic stability is at fundamental risk. An anti-democratic culture in a freedom-loving country like Kenya is a recipe for radicalization and extremism,’
The NASA leader said that as things stand now, anger and radicalization is growing by the day and unless this election crisis is expeditiously rectified, Kenya could be rendered incapable of protecting its own and its partners’ fundamental interests. The depth of the crisis can be seen in the hitherto unheard of phenomenon of mainstream Kenyans feeling so deeply excluded that they are openly toying with the secessionist idea.
‘Both the regime and our traditional partners must retrace their steps and accept that the current state of affairs endangers the nation, the region and the security and stability of the entire free world,’
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